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Addison County Economic Report: Region sees opportunities, with obstacles

Sun, 08/07/2022 - 4:17pm -- tim

by Olga Peters, Vermont Business Magazine According to several economic development specialists, Addison County’s economy is performing well. The county has much to be excited about, such as Amtrak’s Ethan Allen Express extended rail service running to Middlebury and Vergennes in July. Top of Fred Kenney’s list is the county’s economic diversity. According to the executive director of the Addison County Economic Development Corp (ACEDC), the county’s economic diversity makes it resilient. The mix of small businesses, manufacturers, nonprofits, and institutions such as Middlebury College means that the county isn’t reliant on a single industry. Yet, a shortage of workers, affordable housing, and quality childcare remain the preverbal stone in the economy’s shoe.

Increasing housing one partnership at a time

Sun, 08/07/2022 - 4:16pm -- tim

by Olga Peters, Vermont Business Magazine If sticky wickets had legs, housing, workforce, and childcare would be the three legs of Vermont’s very sticky economic wicket. It could be argued that of these three interconnected issues, increasing the amount of housing is a top priority. It will be hard to fill open jobs or expand childcare if people have nowhere affordable to live.

Four + Four = economic strategy

Sun, 08/07/2022 - 4:15pm -- tim

by Olga Peters, Vermont Business Magazine Economic and planning specialists in Addison, Chittenden, Central Vermont (Washington and three communities in Orange County), and Rutland, with assistance from the state Agency of Commerce and Community Development, have partnered to develop a regional economic development strategy.

Do North Coworking announces inaugural cohort for Forest Products Accelerator

Sun, 08/07/2022 - 4:24am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Do North Coworking and Northern Vermont University announce the first participants in the Forest Products Accelerator program. Seven companies from throughout the northeast will take part in this four-month program that’s open to startup and seed stage companies that are commercializing new and improved products, services, and technology in the forest industry. The program is focused on companies that are developing products that use low grade wood and byproducts, technology that improves forestry operations, or wood-based fuels and energy systems.

Report: Housing costs remain 'Out of Reach' for low-wage workers

Sat, 08/06/2022 - 3:29pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine In order to afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment at the Fair Market Rent in Vermont, renters need to earn $23.40 per hour, or $48,664 annually. This is Vermont’s Housing Wage, revealed in the annual Out of Reach Report released last week by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), a research and advocacy organization. Each year, Out of Reach reports on the Housing Wage, the hourly wage a full-time worker must earn to afford rent and utilities for a safe, modest home in the private housing market without spending more than 30% of their income on housing costs. 

State seeking volunteers to help monitor Vermont’s lakes and ponds

Sat, 08/06/2022 - 12:58pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine This summer, the Vermont Lakes and Ponds Program is seeking volunteers to help monitor and collect information about lakes and ponds in the state. With over 800 lakes and ponds, volunteers are key to the success of the program’s lake monitoring efforts. Volunteers can be found statewide greeting lake visitors, inspecting boats, collecting water samples, tracking algal or cyanobacteria blooms, reporting aquatic invasive species, and more.

Manchester Country Club hosts New England Junior Amateur Invitational Aug 8-10

Sat, 08/06/2022 - 4:51am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Manchester Country Club, one of southern Vermont’s premier golf courses, will host the 2022 New England Junior Amateur Invitational August 8-10, 2022. The 54-hole invitational event includes 60 golfers -- 10 junior golfers (7 boys, 3 girls) from each of the New England state golf associations - Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont – who are selected to compete in a 54-hole team and individual stroke play competition. MCC’s championship golf course offers a spectacular design, dramatic elevation changes and the region's best greens.

GMCB approves health insurance rates hikes of 11.7% for Blue Cross and 18.3% for MVP

Fri, 08/05/2022 - 3:04pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Green Mountain Care Board (GMCB) issued decisions Thursday requiring Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont (BCBSVT) and MVP Health Plan, Inc to lower the premiums they wanted to charge individuals and small businesses for health insurance plans in 2023. BCBSVT asked for a 15.4% increase and got 11.7% in the small group (business) plan; MVP asked for a 23.4% increase and got 18.3%. The increase in rates for individuals were similar (see below). Despite the reductions, the rates are still the highest approved since August 2019. 

West Topsham woodchip supplier to pay penalty & restitution for overcharging consumers

Fri, 08/05/2022 - 12:44pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Attorney General’s Office today announced a settlement with heating woodchip supplier Limlaw Pulpwood Inc and its related businesses for violating the Vermont Consumer Protection Act by falsifying the weight of its woodchip loads. The Attorney General’s Office investigated after receiving a report from the Agency of Agriculture regarding concerns that Limlaw was deceptively weighing its woodchip loads to make deliveries seem heavier, resulting in overcharges to consumers. The settlement requires Limlaw to reform its business practices, pay a penalty of $100,000 to the State of Vermont, and provide $1,000 restitution credits to approximately 30 Vermont consumers.

Quick Poll: Who will you vote for?

Fri, 08/05/2022 - 12:13pm -- tim

VermontBiz has released a poll of some of the most competitive primary races. Voting day is this Tuesday, August 9. The races we are closely following include US Senate, Congress, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State and Attorney General. This year the primaries are considered some of the most competitive in memory. To take this poll, just click on the Quick Poll link.

VDH: COVID cases slip, hospitalization up, no deaths in over a week

Fri, 08/05/2022 - 11:50am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Department of Health reported August 3 that COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are still considered "Low." Total cases for the week fell slightly, while hospitalizations saw another increase. The BA.5 variant has become the predominant variant of COVID-19. There were 12 deaths in June attributed to COVID after 32 in May. May saw an increase in fatalities from April and March. As of August 3, there were 9 deaths from COVID in Vermont in July for a pandemic total of 693. This is the fewest COVID fatalities since July 2021 (2). There have been no reported deaths over the last week (the VDH report could change as more data is provided).

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